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Interesting But Lacking In Balance - Reads Like A Betfair Press Release
on 28 December 2009
The author is apparently an experienced journalist, but from the very beginning I was shocked by the appalling use of punctuation, or should I say lack of it. I could have over-looked this short-coming, but what was even more of a turn-off was the lack of any balance. From start to finish this was a Betfair press-release. How brilliant the concept, and founders are, how they have changed the face of gambling, how they have done bookmakers and bettors a favour etc etc.
The author should have done his research properly, because if he had he would have discovered that Betfair doesn't offer better odds than all bookies, which he implies throughout. The 5% commission on top of any market margin is routinely bettered by a host of online bookmakers, but instead he kept trotting out how Betfair creamed highstreet bookmakers; that maybe true but the competition doesn't begin and end at the British highstreet.
The company is a success, the website is solid and the concept clever, but that isn't the whole story. The author suggests that Betfair's ability to track players makes it 100% accountable regarding insider betting. That is just nonsense. There was also only a couple of pages dedicated to the Premium Charging fiasco which caused uproar among Betfairites and surely signalled the changed from 'winners welcome' to 'we want an IPO so we prefer mugs'. Several chapters were also dedicated to examples of similar successes to Betfair; this section should have been much shorter as it took the reader too far off topic and was perhaps a way of padding out the book.
Betfair has had to abandon a lot of its original principals in order to grow (introducing Arcade games for example and constraining the freedom of its forum) and keep fighting expensive legal battles, and this has lost it a lot of kudos among the betting fraternity but this wasn't mentioned once, which is a shame, because a bit of balance could have made this into a half decent read.